Aquaculture is remarkably one of the most promising industries among the food-producing industries in the world. Aquaculture production as well as fish consumption per capita have been dramatically increasing over the past two decades. Shifting of culture method from semi-intensive to intensive technique and applying of antibiotics to control the disease outbreak are the major factors for the increasing trend of aquaculture production. Antibiotics are usually present at subtherapeutic levels in the aquaculture environment, which increases the selective pressure to the resistant bacteria and stimulates resistant gene transfer in the aquatic environment. It is now widely documented that antibiotic resistance genes and resistant bacteria are transported from the aquatic environment to the terrestrial environment and may pose adverse effects on human and animal health. However, data related to antibiotic usage and bacterial resistance in aquaculture is very limited or even absent in major aquaculture-producing countries. In particular, residual levels of antibiotics in fish and shellfish are not well documented. Recently, some of the countries have already decided the maximum residue levels (MRLs) of antibiotics in fish muscle or skin; however, many antibiotics are yet not to be decided. Therefore, an urgent universal effort needs to be taken to monitor antibiotic concentration and resistant bacteria particularly multiple antibiotic-resistant bacteria and to assess the associated risks in aquaculture. Finally, we suggest to take an initiative to make a uniform antibiotic registration process, to establish the MRLs for fish/shrimp and to ensure the use of only aquaculture antibiotics in fish and shellfish farming globally.
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The corresponding author would like to acknowledge the Ministry of Education, Bangladesh, for supporting the research.
The current research was funded (grant no.: LS20191051/2019–2022) by the Ministry of Education, Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh.
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Hossain, A., Habibullah-Al-Mamun, M., Nagano, I. et al. Antibiotics, antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and resistance genes in aquaculture: risks, current concern, and future thinking. Environ Sci Pollut Res 29, 11054–11075 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-021-17825-4